...working together to attain a higher level

Please send news and comments to: gene@weiner-intl.com       

Link to new EMSNow video interview by Philip Stoten at IPC PCB EXPO 2014 (9 minutes):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVOPMgbZ6kA

August 2014

Who is building the packaging substrates and where are they built?

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, yesterday said its revenue hit a record high $2.16 billion last month up 7.6% from June and 24.6% higher than a year earlier. The company also forecast a sequential revenue increase next quarter because of its strength in 28 nanometer and 20 nanometer process technologies as well as strong demand for flat panel IC drivers and tablet power management chips.
United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), Taiwan’s second-largest contract chipmaker, posted its lowest revenue in three months last month, down 7% to $380 million due to less contribution from its solar business.

Conversations with several major circuit interconnect and packaging supply chain members in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Japan indicate that business is "spotty" at best. KCE in Thailand is having record sales participating in circuits for the automotive after market, now the 2nd biggest in Asia. Unimicron Technology's Q2 2014 net profits were back up 377% from the previous quarter to $9 million. Gold Circuit Electronics and MFLEX are still working to restore profitability. Viasystems lost money the 2nd quarter of the year. The 2nd half of 2014 looks promising for Taiwan-based circuit makers. Global has restored its Lone Star name with a statement that it will only provide domestically produced circuits.

SEMI has forecasted double digit growth for equipment makers for the next two years. What will the applications be? Will Intel's new 14nm node be part of the surge - or will the cost/benefit ratio not be good enough? How much of an effect will "wearable electronics" have?Which substrate/board builders will benefit? When? Where?

Samsung's smartphone market position in China has been supplanted by Xiaomi  and in India by "home-grown" Micromax in the 2nd quarter of 2014. The latter is offering a 6-inch screen with magnetic flip cover, 1.3 GHz dual-core Media Tek processor, and an Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system with a 5-megapixel camera and a 6-month movie subscription for $140 (8,500 rupees)!

How is YOUR crystal ball?

Are you monitoring and re-evaluating your attainable markets and shares? Are you redefining your businesses? have you found creative ways of extending product life cycles? Are you noting major shifts in supply chains and aligning your companies with the king (or prince) makers of the next few years? Are you redefining your markets and stepping "outside" the traditional boxes? If not, I suggest re-reading "Blue Ocean Strategy" by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne (2005, Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation).

As a supporting organization of the China Sourcing Fair Fall 2014, Electronics & Components to be held on October 11-14, 2014 at AsiaWorld-Expo, at the Hong Kong Airport, the HKPCA is offering its members VIP Buyers'* privileges to this Fair.  These include:
- Free admission to the Fair;
- Free transportation arrangements to the Fairs;
- Coupons for F&B & shopping discounts at the Hong Kong International Airport area and AsiaWorld-Expo;
Exclusive use of onsite office suites to its invited VIP buyers (Wifi connection, office equipment, etc);
- A free Octopus Cash Card with HK$150 stored-value for transportation or purchases.


Masamitsu "Matt" Aoki has updated his detailed charts of "Build-Up Types of Printed Wiring Boards and Their Applications in Japan" (Version 14.1) and "Thin Types of Printed Wiring Boards and Their Applications in Japan" (Version 24.1). They are both now current through June 2014.

Write to us at gene@weiner-intl.com if you wish a copy.


July 2014

Shane S. Whiteside, former chief operating officer and executive vice president of TTM Technologies Inc. has been elected to the board of directors of Zentech Manufacturing, a Baltimore based EMS company with a strong focus on medical, military and aerospace electronic packaging.

Looking forward

The Taiwan Printed Circuit Association (TPCA) announced at a press conference attended by nearly 100 members of the government, industry, research institutes, academia and the media that it will publish a White Paper in September to address the future Taiwan PCB industry challenges - both in Taiwan as well as China. It will take on production constraints, labor shortages (including skilled and semi-skilled), and end-of-market changes.

The TPCA is calling for its government to lead the country's PCB industry to develop next-generation products and to promote (sponsor?) industry upgrades. Taiwan's PCB makers have lost its momentum and are likely to generate a CAGR of only 1.2% in the 2010-2014 period. The targeted goal for 2014-2020 was said to be 6% to 7%. Sales of Taiwan owned production at home and abroad (including China) is forecast to be $18.3 billion this year.

Everything has a life cycle: You, your company, your products, your services. Are YOU looking at YOUR end-of-life changes? Do you truly understand your markets, your competition, its drivers and what creates opportunities? Do you have a strategy that will enhance/extend it? Are you working to obsolete/replace it before your competitors or the marketplace does?

May we help you do this?

Dateline July 23, 2014 5:40PM EST

It is with great sadness and deep regret that I must inform you of the passing this morning of Dieter Bergman, Global Industry Icon of the printed circuit industry, colleague, and friend of the past half century. He worked selflessly and tirelessly with great charm and wit his entire life in behalf of the industry, enabling the impossible to become the possible. The accolades that are sure to follow will be dwarfed by his actual accomplishments.

Do Not Penalize! - Motivate! Incentivize! Negotiate!  License!

Renewable energy is the way of the future. Make no mistake about it. Achieving a cost effective path is the challenge. Slamming China and Taiwan with enormous duties on assembled solar PV panels shipped to the USA is the wrong approach. We should be grateful for the support of China's  and Taiwan's governments to their industry that allows us to buy them cheaply. The whole industry is based on government subsidies. The net effect of this new DOC action is to increase prices to the American consumer. The  U.S. government has thrown away hundreds of millions of dollars by investing in unproven, doomed-to-fail companies during the past few years. It should have been providing job creating tax incentives for the manufacture of such panels in America.

Let's see if the USA will be the first to commercialize (in high volume) the very efficient multi-juncture PV solar panel technology shown at the recent SEMICON in San Francisco.

Wake up America! It has been 5 years since we have been the world's leading innovator!

Report: The United States not even close to being top global innovator By Pam Tobey July 23 at 5:39 AM - Source: The Washington Post

Switzerland is a four-time champ when it comes to global innovation. The United States? Not so much lately — the country last achieved that spot in 2009. The United Kingdom jumped ahead of Sweden to claim the No. 2 spot behind Switzerland in the recently released Global Innovation Index 2014, put out jointly by the business school INSEAD, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and Cornell University.

The index covers many variables that contribute to innovation, including institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market and business sophistication, knowledge and technology and creativity. It gathers data for 81 different indicators in 143 economies to come up with rankings. In 2007, the United States was at the top of the list. In 2010, it plummeted to 11th place, partially due to the battering of the economy by the financial crisis. Among the regions in the report, Europe holds the top spot, followed by North America.

Have you wondered what happened to all those great new product introductions from the IPC APEX, Productronica, HKPCA, CPCA, TPCA, NEPCON and other trade shows around the world  the past 3 to 5 years?

Well, I have been wondering, reflecting, interviewing, and thinking. Every inventor's product is his "baby". It is difficult to face reality and listen to advice  when one is emotionally attached.

Have most inventors determined the commercial viability of a “new” product, or how to make it so before the product launch? Apparently not. How long, from date of introduction should an invention or improvement take to begin to realize its potential? Three years? Less? What does it take to achieve it? When are incremental changes “good enough” to extend a product’s life cycle or propel it forward? What is the true cost of the “beneficial” change? What is the risk versus reward to the buyer and his customer? What is the projected life cycle of the replacement technology? What is needed to drive demand upwards broadly and rapidly to attain its goals and go beyond the inventor’s dreams?
The answer to these and other vital questions appear to continue to elude many participants and “wannabe’s” in the board fabrication and packaging supply chain.
A number of promising, “revolutionary”, “game-changing” technologies, systems, and products for bare board fabrication have been introduced at major trade shows around the world during the past 3 to 5 or more years. Their companies bear such names as Aiscent Technologies, Semblant, Rainbow, MIVA Technologies, Interdyne (gone as of June 23), and Long Victory Technology (a rising star?).
Why haven’t they become main stream yet? Is it too soon for a post mortem of their activities as well as others of their ilk? Can the right strategic or technical shift or a new alliance renew the hoped-for trajectory? Has the market changed bypassing the creation's need? Were the benefits properly assessed, evaluated, and marketed?
What is YOUR organization’s situation/plan? Can you truly differentiate yourself from the past? From the competition? 
Can we help  you improve your odds? Increase your success rate?

Who will share in IBM’s vision of the future?

During the next 5 years IBM will invest $3 billion in R&D for “the post silicon era”. Which equipment and material suppliers will partner with it? Who else has such a forward looking budget? According to CIO Bernie Meyerson, the investments include programs in areas such as III-V materials expected to be used around the 5nm node, which some say could be the last generation of silicon-based chip technology. They also include a broad set of programs ranging from 3D chip packaging to computer architectures such as quantum and neural processing and post-silicon chip materials such as carbon nanotubes and graphene. "This is not about semiconductors per se but a broad statement about reinventing computing," he said. Today’s silicon CMOS processes will hit atomic limits (a brick wall) somewhere around the 5nm node in about 2020. Many of the IBM programs are about finding new techniques that will drive hardware performance beyond that point. "The real issue is silicon goes quantum mechanical at these dimensions. It no longer works. At this time, there is no consensus on what's next." However, "we still have a 5-10 year horizon” to find solutions.

Someone forgot to tell them...

...about the economic recovery. Microsoft will chop 18,000 jobs in the next year as it lays off 14% of its workforce. 2/3 of the cut will come from the phone and tablet work force in order to eliminate the post Nokia acquisition bulge. I guess CEO Satya Nadella won't be running for U.S. president in the near future.

It was not too long ago when "everyone" just wanted a very small cell phone

Smart phones with screens larger than 5.5 inches seem to be cutting into the tablet market, especially those with 7 to 7.9-inch screens which accounted for 58% of the market in 2013. Tablet shipments the first quarter of 2014 declined about 5% from the same period last year. This is the first time such a drop has been noted in tablet sales since their introduction.

Good move, Ray!

Have you noticed the shortage of RF substrates? Isola announced increased production of and a 24-hour response service to provide designers with a turnkey solution for all the calculations, testing, characterization and material recommendations to fill the gap with its "low loss materials". Target applications include 23GHz, and 76-79Hz frequencies used in advanced driver frequencies.

It is not too early.....

.....to start planning your participation and attendance at the early key Fall events. Have you wondered if the lost board business has all gone overseas or if something else is occurring? Have advances in packaging and system technology supplanted portions? Are segments morphing into newer technologies? Do you know what these opportunities (threats to your conventional business) are?

You will have an opportunity to view, discuss, and evaluate, these at the rebranded 2nd annual Electronic Systems Technologies Conference and Exhibition to be held at the IPC TechSummit in Raleigh, North Carolina October 28-30. Some of the topics presented and discussed at the original held in Las Vegas have already begun to move into the mainstream. Chaired once again by Intel's Dr. Senol Pekin, this year's event has already attracted key interconnect industry figures who will discuss trends, what matters to them, and new technologies.

It is also worth noting that Dr. Michael Osterman, Director of CALCE at the University of Maryland will chair the 8th Annual Tin Whiskers Conference during TechSummit.

Job creation

China's finance minister Lou Jiwei said that the country is not planning any new stimulus measures and it is up to the United States to drive the global economy. He stated that leaders are satisfied with the country's economic performance so far this year and that in the first five months China had already created up to 6 million jobs, 60 percent of this year's target.

According to AP, analysts say that the ruling party appears willing to accept economic growth below its 7.5 percent target this year so long as the rate of creation of new jobs stays high enough to avoid political tensions.

Jiwei said that China is emphasizing structural reforms to spur economic growth and is unlikely to repeat the kind of massive economic stimulus it did in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. He pointed out that the U.S. economy shrank at a 2.9 percent annual rate from January to March and China hopes the U.S. "can take measures to ensure the momentum of growth."

Nothing is forever

Check our Comments Page for Dr. Numakura's (DKN Research) startling story about the divestiture of  a major business by Sony after posting losses of a billion dollars this past year.

Labor shortage in China (for Taiwan PCB makers)?

Taiwan-based PCB makers in Taiwan and China expect 2014 sales to be up a bit less than 3% from 2013 to $17.98 billion.

Taiwan's Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center (IEK) warned that Taiwan-based PCB makers will continue to face severe labor shortages in China in the years ahead due to rapid changes in its demographic structure. 

This will force Taiwan-based PCB makers to seek alternative locations for their future investment plans, according to sources of the DigiTimes.